Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Why does the radio always sound so bad when I'm on it?

Well, I just listened to our radio show. It was certainly better sounding than the last one we did but still not something I'm proud to have produced. I don't know why every time we do a radio performance they mix the vocals about 20x louder than the rest of the music. Its really off-putting. I was going to say that I hope you guys all got to hear it but I really don't. I hope a lot of new people heard it and thought it was interesting enough to come to the show this weekend or buy the record, but hopefully, no one who already has an opinion about us heard it.

As I mentioned before I've been reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. In it, he postulates a 7 point scale of agnosticism, which I will reproduce here.

1. Strong Theist: I do not question the existence of God, I KNOW he exists.

2. De-facto Theist: I cannot know for certain but I strongly believe in God and I live my life on the assumption that he is there.

3. Weak Theist: I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.

4. Pure Agnostic: God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.

5. Weak Atheist: I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.

6. De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there.

7. Strong Atheist: I am 100% sure that there is no God.

Leah and I were talking about this list the other day, and I placed myself as a 3 leaning towards a 2, and she posed a question that I thought was interesting. She asked "How would you live your life differently if you didn't believe in god as opposed to believing in him?" I thought about it and said, "I don't guess I would do anything differently." She agreed.

Dawkins, himself, always says that a world with a god would look drastically different from a world without one, but I'm not so sure. I mean, how could we know since there's no experiment we can really do, as of yet. Dawkins argues probability, saying that while its impossible to disprove completely, he can prove that it is more probable that god doesn't exist, but so far I haven't read how he feels a universe with a god would look different, specifically.

I don't believe that morality is exclusive to or dependent on religion, spirituality, or a relationship with Christ (which is somehow not the former), and I think most people that read this blog agree with that statement, so my question to you, dear reader, is three-fold:

1. What number on the chart do you most closely relate to?
2. What, if anything, would you change about your life if someone, somehow, proved you wrong about your belief?
3. If you put yourself between a 3 and 7, why do you feel the need to live a moral life (assuming that you do)?

Keep in mind that we're not talking about identifying god as any specific one. For the sake of argument, lets just imagine that science somehow proves that god simply exists but past that, our knowledge of him/her/it/them hasn't increased. In other words, it could just as easily be Zeus as Allah.

Bonus question: How would you go about learning more about the character of this new found, completely provable god and/or would you even try to?


  1. You already know my answers but I want to participate!

    1. 2 to a 3.
    2. I honestly don't think I would live differently.
    3. Because I know the difference between good and bad, love and hate.

  2. Hi Taylor, it's Chelsea from Arizona. I read your blog all the time, and you asked your readers to participate, so here I am!

    I'm a 6, but if someone somehow proved that God exists, I would probably not live any differently. I would say I definitely live a moral life, mostly because I have a vague belief in karma. If I act immorally to someone, not only do I regret it, but I believe the negative action comes back to me at some point. I was not raised religiously, but I was raised to believe that it's good to be moral, even when no one's watching.

  3. So glad you asked. I'm always happy to say I'm a 7. I think I was a 7 at birth and the only thing that's changed about me with regards to my belief/non-belief is I am now more tolerant of those who believe in a god. If they're happy then good for them and I'm happy for them (even if I might think they are deluding themselves). The only thing I ask of the believers is to not hold their prayer meetings in Starbucks. Of course, that just might have been a Texas thing as in Canada we don't talk about or advertise religion (which I believe is a good practice since religion is a personal choice.)

    What would I change if there was proof of the big guy/gal being out there? Nothing. If you live your life and try to be a good person in spite of your flaws, if you try and accept others as they are and are not critical of them, and if you try and practice decency and kindness, what's to change? Of course I don't claim to have always been those things I just mentioned, but I have evolved and continue to evolve in that direction (I hope).

    You said if you put yourself between a 3 and a 7 but you didn't say inclusive, so I'm not sure if I qualify as a 7 to answer the 3rd question. A moral life? There is no set book of morals. Some are obvious and some may be different to different people but still acceptable as moral. I hope my life is at least semi-moral and if it is, I choose to live it that way because I want to feel good about myself and be a semi-useful piece of society and of some use to others.

    As for the bonus question, I would watch the sure to be made mini-series that would hopefully star a really gorgeous woman as god. Failing that, I'll just have to read the book.

    And one last comment that I mean no offence by, but why in Texas is every discussion that mentions religion include the "C" word? It would be nice to see something like, "would you live your life based on the teachings of the Talmud?" or something to that effect. (Guess that's just the cultural "J" in me coming out.)

  4. 1. A one,

    2. I would be intrigued to see a world where one could prove or disprove god. In a way, proof of a god does away with faith in god. Strange paradox. I feel a lot of things would change. While morality wouldn't give way entirely, lack of consequence and loss of hope might sway me to make different judgments. I have a hard enough time holding my tongue while keeping to my prayers, who knows what I am capable of. Though I don't see God as the cop of the sky, as much as a source of hope and love, and something worth trying to imitate.

    3. I'm not sure how much morality is based on belief in god. I know that when i was an atheist my ability and desire to love/hate were not changed from what they are now. In a sense grace (if you believe in such) covers those who don't live with morals. I will say that tying yourself to Christ name will get your name thrown out more when you fail as a human being, but thats more of a problem with believers I suppose.

    I also agree with above poster in that religion is a choice, and think we would be much better off without advertising our wares all the time. people should be respected no matter which side they fall on. Not to mention I've seen enough talking vegetables and cheezy t-shirts for one lifetime. I don't need a bracelet to remind me of the things i believe.

  5. I love that you worked in a Veggietales reference!

  6. 1. 7
    2. Nothing, I think. I don't live my life based upon the absence of a god, and I would not live my life based upon the existence of a god.
    3. I think morality is an innate quality. Religions may define their own specific moral guidelines, but they don't instill morality. Would would be one's motivation to follow a particular moral code if one didn't already have some sense of morality?

    Bonus: It depends. Will this god judge my life in any way. Chances are that I won't study for a test if there isn't going to be an exam.

  7. 1) I'm about a 4.8. I spent most of my life feeling like a 3 but I think I'm finally being true to myself and becoming a 5.

    2) I guess I am the only one that feels that they would be completely impacted by finding out that there was truely a god. If I had absolute proof then I would wnat to learn and know as much about it as possible wether it was God, Zeus or whatever. I don't know how much differently I would live my life because I live a pretty straight life anyway..

    3) I think my moral code was built of fear of consequences of my actions by my parents mainly(who ironically never had to punish me for anything because of it),and law enforcement) I also feel very strongly influenced by the "Do unto others" mentality. I think I've spent a lot of time trying not to re-create some of my parents mistakes in life.

  8. 1. I think I'm about a 3.5. I don't feel strongly about it either way, honestly. What brings me closer to 3 than a solid 4 is that so many people I love are 1s, and I feel like that's part of the them that I love, and while I'm pretty indifferent to the fight over whether God exists or not, it's hard for me to say he doesn't, because I've seen so mny people who have felt his presence in their lives.

    The way I see it, God is there for those that need him. I'm a very lucky person, my life is filled with love. I've never needed more love in my life than I had. If I did need more, God's not a bad place to turn for it.

    2. I think it's all about what God you beleive in, whether you would change things. Maybe God would tell me to become a vegan, or to carpool more often. Maybe God would tell me to live in a house boat. Who knows? I don't think believing in the Christian God would change my lifestyle at all, because I live it now for my family's sake. I'd consider going kosher if I felt the call.

    Also, I have cleverly devised a faith in which I cannot be proved wrong. "I don't know, it doesn't make me sad that I don't know. If I need to know, I'll know then."

    3. A moral life has nothing to do with a godly life. I know plenty of people in the "1" category who live fairly sinful lives in my estimation, and plenty of "7"s that re saints to me.

    Morality, for me, is all about making the world better instead of worse. Sure, God's gonna want you to do that. But why wouldn't you want to, anyway?

  9. 1. 7.

    2. Impossible scenario. I'm a 7. :) But for the sake of the question, I don't think that I'd change much. I might get a little angry, though, knowing there's an omnipotent and omniscient being out there who allowed the world to come to its current state. Why create suffering? I don't think I'd respect this god.

    3. I agree with Jennifer. Morality is innate to some extent. Instinct, evolution, culture, and circumstance influence it. Everyone has some kind of moral compass, unless they're a sociopath I guess. I think wanting to do what's "right" (as defined by the aforementioned 4 things) is a chemical thing/part of your brain that you've probably either got or you don't. Some people just struggle with needing deep a reason to do the right thing, which I don't understand. I'd just like to be happy while not harming anyone else, and hopefully be useful to society in some way, as someone mentioned above.

  10. 1. I most closely relate to 7, with the caveat that sufficiently vague deistic conceptions of God aren't really able to be argued against, so in regards to that, I'll just say I think it's unlikely.

    2. Nothing about my life would change if I was disproven. Also, I don't call my view a 'belief,' as it wasn't arrived at in spite of or in absence of evidence/reason. I think I arrived at this conclusion logically, and feel no emotional attachment to it. If I was proven wrong, I would simply adopt whatever new truth I had discovered. My life would not change otherwise.

    3. According to my perception of what generally constitutes a 'moral' person, I guess I'm highly moral. Being moral/ethical, to me, is living in accordance to how I want the world to be. So that's mostly why I do what I do.

    I don't think you could prove that 'God' existed without having any information beyond its existence, unless maybe you defined 'the source of the big bang' as 'God,' however to me, that seems like a grasp giving unjustified credence to religious upbringing or something, as I think the 'God' concept is only significant if it's sentient. If it's not sentient, you might as well call every force of nature 'God.' Which I guess is one's right to do, but I don't see what function that would serve, nor why it would have to have a special name like that.

    Bonus: Sure, I'd try to learn more about it, as I like learning about pretty much anything. If a sentient, provable God did exist, I'd be confused as to how it went so long undetected... and I guess, then, it would have to be a deist God, as I'm as sure as I can be that no God has been interacting with us so far.

    Fun topic.

  11. I really didn't expect any 7's or 1's but it seems that that is what we got the most of. This thread is really interesting to read, so thanks to everyone for participating. I really expected a lot of 2's and 6's but you guys all go for the gusto.

  12. I'm terrible at thinking of well worded answers for these kinds of discussion starters... but i just wanna say Hello, I guess. I've been reading Leah's blog site since like.... 1998 or something...

    started reading yours so I could "get to know you" a bit seeing as how i've heard so much about how awesome you are.

    But ya, I love the stuff you're posting so far.

    I would say I am a 2.3ish...

    And your questions have definitely made me think about how I live my life and how that reflects my beliefs. I don't think I would live too differently.

    But thanks for making me think.

  13. !. I'm a 6.

    2. If someone proved different from what I thought, in the sense that there was indeed a higher power controlling everthing, I'd probably live my life more angry and in a rebelious state.

    3. The knowing of pain and the craving I have for a natural balance in all things.